By Peter Trautmann, Navigators Collegiate, New York City
How did graduating from college feel for you? For me it felt like jumping without a net; the most difficult transition of my life.
It was isolating—many of my friends and community were still in college. I left deep intimacy in my Christian community on campus for staid interactions in the professional arena.
It was alienating—suddenly I was measured by the numbers I produced rather than by my ideas. I felt ill-equipped; nothing in my college classes or even the Christian community prepared me for the demands of New York work life.
Since then, I have watched generations of students move on from college. I have seen the great need to equip students for challenges that inevitably come after college while we have them in the supportive context of Navigators Collegiate.
This summer, as I was talking with a recent graduate three weeks out of college, he told me, “I’m not doing well.” He described being hit by “tremendous changes” and struggling with “the obscurity, uncertainty, and instability” of life outside of college. Some of this cannot be avoided and is a natural part of the transition of growing up. We want young people to emerge from college equipped to be independent in many ways, but also interdependent on the Christian community, and fully dependent on God.
Over the years of Navigators Collegiate ministry, we have found it necessary to continually increase our efforts in helping students to be more prepared for this transition from college life to their careers. This year we rebranded our senior transition training for our New York City students, calling it #Adulting101. I assembled 17 students from 4 different New York City campuses, asking them their greatest felt needs as they face graduation. Overwhelmingly, they desired to be equipped in these three areas:
- Boundaries, Rhythms, and Balance of Work and Life
- Dating, Marriage, and Starting a Family
- Managing Finances
Over a series of dinners during the spring semester, I invited a line-up of experienced Christian professionals to speak to and interact with the students on these topics and gave them a chance to ask great questions. We included diverse men and women with backgrounds in finance, law, counseling, life-coaching, marketing, business, and change management.
The seniors emerged grateful for the deep dive into these topics, and the ability to get so many of their questions answered from spiritual and professional mentors who are much further down the road of life. It was another lesson for us in the power of inter-generational ministry to help young people apply the gospel fully in every area of their lives, now and into the future.
Pray for those who have recently graduated from college—that they will continue to grow as disciplemakers where they live, work, and play.